For years, one of the preferred methods for trying to undermine the Second Amendment was lawsuits. Anti-gun groups, on behalf of victims and their families, would try and sue gun manufacturers for the actions of a third party. Gun companies were supposed to somehow prevent violent crime.
Now, federal law prevents such lawsuits, namely because they’re stupid but also because they’re an attempt to bankrupt lawful companies for the actions of other parties. At least in theory.
However, we also had the lawsuit with Remington get settled, which will likely embolden others to file their own lawsuits.
A bill in Wisconsin just passed that may prevent such things from happening in that state, however.
MADISON (WKOW) — Republicans in the state Assembly passed a bill Wednesday making it more difficult to file lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers.
The bill prohibits lawsuits that claim the makers and sellers of firearms and accessories are liable for injuries or deaths inflicted by gun crimes. It also bans lawsuits claiming a gun’s design was responsible for a nuisance.
The bill had already been approved in the Senate so it now advances to the desk of Gov. Tony Evers who is all but certain to veto it.
Democrats in the state (with one notable exception) tried to argue that this is an example of Republicans being out of the mainstream on guns, but I don’t think so.
First, we have a number of polls showing that “mainstream” support for gun control simply doesn’t exist anymore. That’s an artifact of days gone by and is no longer relevant to current discussions.
Second, what does that have to do with suing gun manufacturers for the actions of a third party?
See, no one has an issue with lawsuits against companies that screw the pooch in some way. Your gun blows up because of a manufacturing flaw? Then, by all means, file that lawsuit.
Nor do folks tend to take issue with them being held accountable for actual negligence leading to guns in criminal hands. A company ship a firearm directly to someone who is a convicted felon? We’re not exactly going to feel sympathy for them if they get sued.
But the preferred reason for suing these companies, the reason anti-Second Amendment types oppose these lawsuits, is because they seek to blame companies for the actions of people who had nothing to do with the company.
Take Parkland, for example. The shooter in that case walked into a gun store, purchased his firearm, passed a NICS check, and walked out with the gun. Suing the manufacturer makes no sense because they sold it to a distributor who sold it to the gun store who did everything correctly.
Even the Remington lawsuit was ridiculous–I sincerely wish there hadn’t been a settlement because Remington did nothing wrong. They blamed Remington’s marketing, but there was no evidence the Sandy Hook killer ever saw any of that marketing. Plus, it’s not like the marketing said you could kill a bunch of elementary school kids with their guns.
What their real problem with laws barring such suits is that they can’t try and bankrupt gun companies. You don’t need gun control if there are no guns available for purchase, after all, and that’s why these suits are such an issue.
I’m glad Wisconsin passed this. I only wish Evers would sign it.